|Olympic skater Adam Rippon|
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Vice President Pence is set to arrive here soon to lead the official U.S. delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympic opening ceremony, a delegation that is making a strong political statement against North Korea’s oppressive regime by including the father of Otto Warmbier, the student who died not long after being held in captivity in North Korea.
But on the afternoon on Jan. 17, Pence had another focus: He was so concerned about the criticism he received from U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon that his staff went to the extraordinary length of asking the U.S. Olympic Committee to set up a conversation between the two – an offer Rippon turned down.
According to two people with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly about it, a member of Pence’s staff requested the conversation with the openly gay Rippon after reading the skater’s derogatory remarks about him in a USA TODAY Sports story that had been published online just an hour earlier.
Rippon, the two people said, declined the invitation.
See full USA Today story here.
Just days ago, another out Olympic athlete was critical of Pence as the choice to lead the US delegation of athletes. Appearing on the Ellen show, skier Gus Kenworthy echoed Rippon's view that Pence was a "strange choice." See the clip below.